KST Blog

  1. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Kelly Strayhorn Theater Unveils New Summer Fundraiser “House Party,” Night of Interactive Performance, Community Building, and Celebration

    EAST LIBERTY, PA—Kelly Strayhorn Theater is excited to announce a fresh interpretation of its annual summer fundraiser, House Party. Taking place at KST’s flagship location at 5941 Penn Avenue on Saturday, July 16, House Party promises an evening of unique and immersive performances, extravagant outfits, and an iconic dance party.

    An evolution of KST’s historic Full Bloom event, House Party takes inspiration from KST’s updated mission to be a home for creative experimentation, community dialogue, and collective action rooted in the liberation of Black and queer people.

    “House Party is the culmination of our 2021–22 Welcome Home season,” says Joseph Hall, Executive Director. “By attending this fabulous party and having an unforgettable night, attendees also support our programs that bring vibrant performances and events to East Liberty all year long.”

    House Party promises a fashionable and celebratory evening inspired by The Met Gala by way of Studio 54. Set in an immersive art installation, this event comes alive through a performance  by artists and musicians. As KST’s signature fundraiser, House Party supports KST Presents’ diverse and engaging programming throughout the year.

    Beginning at 7:00pm, the event invites VIP guests to explore an installation in the KST Lobby of digital portraits of House Party performers created by Scott Andrew, a multimedia queer-oriented video, installation, and performance artist. From the Lobby VIPs will encounter an immersive reception on the main stage, where attendees will hear from Executive Director Joseph Hall, enjoy heavy hors d’oeuvres and have exclusive access to an open bar. 

    The theater will transform into a dreamlike landscape, creating the background for VIP attendees to experience a live performance created by Ariel / and Justin Kelly—artists who recently participated in Freshworks, KST’s creative residency.

    In May, KST hosted Bad Form: A Scratch Symphony, a performance piece by percussionist Justin Kelly and dancer Ariel / that uses improvisation and play to explore sound and movement. At House Party, Justin Kelly and Ariel / evolve Bad Form into a group performance that will emerge from and interact with the theater installation. Featured artists include Luis Erick Zul Rabasa, Marcus Shutrump, BB Kenda, Samira Mendoza, Merisa Skinner, Zim Syed, and AJ Leibert. This rhythmic performance will activate the theater with an improvised performance score that connects the intimate VIP reception with the exhilarating Dance Party.

    At 9:00pm, KST opens its doors to all attendees as the legendary Dance Party kicks off in the KST Lobby. The Dance Party, an annual high point in Pittsburgh’s nightlife, welcomes community members of all ages and backgrounds to dress up and party down. ICY PISCES fka Deejay Aesthetics a.k.a Tresa Murphy Green starts the party with retro beats referencing the 1990s and early 2000s, followed by DJ Femi whose set will turn up the heat with global sounds. 

    “House Party exemplifies the core of Kelly Strayhorn’s mission to be a home for Black and queer people,” says Hall. “Black homes are some of the first cultural institutions; they are places of music and artistry. Through our mission, we ensure that the historically Black neighborhood of East Liberty continues to be a site for Black and queer creativity, community building, and expression.”

    Past KST summer fundraisers have included Hotline Ring—an innovative collective virtual fundraiser in 2020 and 2021 to support arts organizations led by or in community with Black and queer people—and Full Bloom, a summer dance party fundraiser that ran for 11 years.

    Tickets for House Party on July 16 are available for $50–100 for the Dance Party and $150–250 for the VIP Reception, and can be reserved at kelly-strayhorn.org

    For full season details, COVID policy updates, and tickets, go to kelly-strayhorn.org.

    House Party is supported by the Host Committee: Nisha Blackwell and Calvin Jackson; Demeatria Boccella and J.G. Boccella; Brian Broome; Marita Garrett; Jake Goodman and Sean Shepherd; Kilolo Luckett and John Barbera Jr.; Lori Moran; Cynthia Oliver; Kendra Janelle Ross; Rick Soria and Scott Fech; Mark Anthony Thomas; and Alecia Dawn Young and Damon Young.

    More Info and Ticketing Here

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    ARTISTS

    Ariel / is an independent performing artist and educator working in dance/film/theatre and is a maker of transdisciplinary artworks and choreographies. They made an appearance in Tribeca Film Festival award-winning short Black Ghost Son and has worked with companies including Allure, Makeup Forever, Brunch Theatre (NYC), Vangeline Butoh Theatre (NYC), Attack Theatre, and PearlArts Studio Extensions. Notable venues where they have performed and displayed works include SPACE Gallery, The Space Upstairs, GPAC Center, Baryshnikov Dance Center, Alloy Studios, and New Hazlett Theatre. Born in the Hawaiian Kingdom and raised between Raymaytush (Northern California) and Osage land (Pittsburgh, PA), Ariel grew up in a home that practiced TCM, which distilled an awareness of being part of a provocative legacy of intel and experience directly at odds with Western societal infrastructures. This greatly informs their creative process where ancestral modalities for wellness, memory-keeping, and liberation are archived via performance/celebration.

    Justin Kelly is a percussionist, DJ, and event producer exploring rhythm, movement, celebratory ritual, and improvisation. His background as a classically trained percussionist has morphed into a musical practice centered around improvised rhythm making in the contexts of jazz, electronic music, and experimental music. Hailing from the Washington, D.C. area, Justin lives in Pittsburgh where he regularly performs and produces forward-thinking events that seek to foster community and spark imagination.

    Scott Andrew is a multimedia queer-oriented video, installation, and performance artist. He creates speculative fantasies that peer into otherworldly portals and voids. He has exhibited at MoMA’s PopRally Performance Series (NYC), Ballroom Marfa (Marfa, TX), the Hammer Museum (LA), and the J. Paul Getty Museum (LA), among others. Recently, Andrew has worked as a media designer, director, producer for collaborative stage performances with dance artist Jesse Factor, drag performer Veronica Bleaus, the opera, ‘Looking at You’ with the Carnegie Mellon University School of Music, as well as VFX editor for the documentary film, ‘Workhorse Queen’ by Angela Washko, and the interactive music video, ‘Gestures of Devotion’, by Congregation of Drones.

    Scott is an educator, advising and teaching animation, video, concept, and performance courses as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University, a Visiting Lecturer in the Studio Arts program at the University of Pittsburgh, and with the CMU Pre-college program. Scott has taught at Youngstown State University, Seaton Hill University, The Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School, and has conducted workshops at the Andy Warhol Museum, Mattress Factory, and Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.

    Scott co-curates TQ Live! a yearly LGBTQ+ variety series that has been presented at the Andy Warhol Museum and the Carnegie Museum of Art. Along with Angela Washko and Jesse Stiles, Scott organizes a National Endowment for the Arts funded performance series called Fail-Safe, which seeks to provide a supportive space for the presentation and potential failure of performative works-in-progress. Other previous curatorial projects include the drift and the Institute for New Feeling’s Felt Book.

    ABOUT THE DJS

    ICY PISCES fka Deejay Aesthetics a.k.a Tresa Murphy Green is a young, dynamic, multidisciplinary artist and cultural curator. Creative, visionary and thinker Tresa Murphy Green poet, deejay, self taught artisan and organizer makes an intentional step to center the voices, perspectives and lives of black women and femmes in all forms of their work.

    DJ Femi is an extremely talented multifarious DJ based in the city of Pittsburgh. Her DJ career started 15 years ago when she attended a local performing arts school, CAPA. Femi is one of the most popular DJs in the City of Pittsburgh. As she represents for all of the women in the music industry. She continues to stand for women in the entertainment industry as well as women worldwide. She is a beacon of light in the night life and a prime example that women can be great DJ’s too.

    ABOUT KELLY STRAYHORN THEATER 

    Kelly Strayhorn Theater is a non-profit community performing arts center in East Liberty,  advancing live art through strategic vision and community collaboration with two venues running along Penn Avenue. KST’s Alloy Studios is a cultural hub in the heart of East  Liberty, and the historic Kelly Strayhorn Theater is located in the thriving business district. More than 20 years after its founding, KST continues to use its broad reach to impact the contemporary arts and the community. KST’s mission is to be a home for creative experimentation, community dialogue, and collective action rooted in the liberation of Black and queer people. Welcome Home!

     —

    THANKS TO OUR SPONSORS

    Duolingo, Northwest Bank, UPMC Health Plan, The Jewish Healthcare Foundation, Wagner Agency, Inc., Workhorse Collaborative

  2. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Local Artists Headline Theater Performances as Theatre Communications Group National Conference Comes to Pittsburgh June 16 & 17

    EAST LIBERTY, PA—As Theatre Communications Group’s national conference returns to Pittsburgh, Kelly Strayhorn Theater is proud to present a series of commissioned performances that highlight the city’s vibrant and diverse theater community. The events, which take place at venues throughout Pittsburgh, feature artists who range from theater performers to DJs to choreographers and more.

    “Pittsburgh theater makers and performers will be on the national stage during the TCG conference, which attracts the country’s leading theater professionals,” says Ben Pryor, KST’s Program Director. “Through these events, KST is uplifting some of the creatives that make Pittsburgh’s performing arts community so dynamic.”

    On Thursday, June 16, KST hosts an encore presentation of Lyam B. Gabel’s playful and touching piece, the dance floor, the hospital room, and the kitchen table, at the theater’s flagship venue at 5941 Penn Avenue. This poignant work slips between the past and present, becoming, interacting with, and learning from a chorus of voices from a critical moment in the queer liberation moment. In the KST lobby, attendees will experience An Archive of Queer Care, Gabel’s virtual reality installation created with Joseph Amodei. An Archive of Queer Care presents attendees with an interactive landscape where queer and trans people from Pittsburgh, San Francisco, New Orleans, and New York share their personal stories of navigating pandemics, from COVID-19 to the HIV/AIDS crisis. The installation is a companion piece to Gabel’s work, the dance floor, the hospital room, and the kitchen table.

    Following the show, TQ Live! presents a dance party and performances featuring SUPA’ NxC, Remy Black, Jesse Factor, and DJ HUNY, all organized by Scott Andrew.

    On Friday, June 17, KST and The Andy Warhol Museum partner to host Adil Mansoor’s heart wrenching and tender solo performance Amm(i)gone at 7:00pm at the museum, followed by a reception featuring Operation Sappho DJs. In Amm(i)gone, Mansoor exploors queerness, the afterlife, and obligation using Sophocles’ Antigone, teachings from the Quran, and audio conversations between him and his mother in a touching performance about love across faith. Amm(i)gone, which was co-commissioned by KST in partnership with The Theatre Offensive and National Performance Network, premiered at KST’s Alloy Studios in April 2022.

    Following Amm(i)gone at The Andy Warhol Museum, KST and TCG present Vibes N’at, a celebration of the Pittsburgh BIPOC theater and artist community, taking place at 10:00pm at the ç Vibes N’at features performances from Alumni Theater Company, Jacquea Mae, Mita Ghosal, DJ Samira Mendoza, and more.

    Theatre Communications Group (TCG), founded in Pittsburgh and now based in NYC, is a nonprofit dedicated to growing and connecting the theater community across the U.S. The TCG national conference, which welcomes hundreds of national theater practitioners for a series of professional development workshops, timely panel discussions, and performances, takes place from June 16–18 at the Westin Pittsburgh.

    KST’s 2021–22 season, Welcome Home, explores the liberation and redefinition of “home” for Black and queer people and communities. Throughout the season, KST has hosted events anchored in creative experimentation, community dialogue, and collective action to advance the liberation of Black and queer people. As a site of community building and resistance, KST defines itself as a home for artists and a space of care for historically resilient people.

    Tickets for the dance floor, the hospital room, and the kitchen table are available on a sliding scale, from $15 to $30 per attendee, and can be reserved at kelly-strayhorn.org or purchased at the door.

    Tickets for TQ Live! are available on a sliding scale, from $0 to $20 per attendee, and can be reserved at kelly-strayhorn.org or purchased at the door.

    Tickets for Amm(i)gone are available for $15 adults and $10 for students, and can be reserved at warhol.org or purchased at the door.

    Tickets for Vibes N’at are available for free with RSVP.

    For full season details, COVID policy updates, and tickets, go to kelly-strayhorn.org.

    the dance floor, the hospital room, and the kitchen table is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation & Development Fund Project co-commissioned by Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans, Chatham University, Contemporary Arts Center, and NPN. For more information www.npnweb.org. the dance floor, the hospital room, and the kitchen table by Lyam B. Gabel received developmental support as part of the 2021 Director Residency Program of The Drama League of New York. (Gabriel Stelian-Shanks, Artistic Director; Bevin Ross, Executive Director). A version was workshopped at Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama in November 2019 and received additional support from the Carnegie Mellon University GSA/Provost GuSH Grant.

    Amm(i)gone is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation & Development Fund Project co-commissioned by Kelly Strayhorn Theater in partnership with The Theater Offensive and NPN/VAN. The Creation & Development Fund is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency). For more information, visit www.npnweb.org. Amm(i)gone is additionally supported by the Frank-Ratchye Fund for Art @ the Frontier; the Point Foundation’s Andrew A. Isen Internship; The Heinz Endowments’ Small Arts Initiative; Opportunity Fund; PNC Charitable Trust; A. W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation; Arts, Equity, Reimagined Fund; and Dreams of Hope.

  3. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Kelly Strayhorn Theater Announces Summer Season, Featuring Theater Communications Group Conference, KST Fundraiser “House Party” The Alloy School, and more!

    EAST LIBERTY, PA—Kelly Strayhorn Theater is proud to announce the final chapter of its 2021–2022 Welcome Home season. Throughout the summer, audiences will experience a dynamic range of performances and events inspired by building and sharing the concept of home.

    “It has been a delight to welcome audiences back into Kelly Strayhorn Theater and KST’s Alloy Studios all year,” says Joseph Hall, Executive Director. “We are thrilled to present a summer of programming that continues to center creative experimentation, community dialogue, and collective action rooted in the liberation of Black and queer people.”

    JUNE EVENTS 

    Theater Communications Group (TCG) will have its first national conference in over two years in Pittsburgh. This event will welcome hundreds of national theater practitioners to town, and for the occasion, KST proudly remounts commissioned performances from Pittsburgh artists. 

    On Thursday, June 16, KST hosts an encore presentation of Lyam B. Gabel’s playful and touching piece, the dance floor, the hospital room, and the kitchen table. This poignant work slips between the past and present, becoming, interacting with and learning from a chorus of voices from a critical moment in the queer liberation moment. Following the show, TQ Live! presents a dance party and performances featuring Supa NXC, Remi Black, Drake and Jesse Factor, and DJ HUNY

    On Friday, June 17, KST and The Andy Warhol Museum host Adil Mansoor’s heart wrenching and tender solo performance Amm(i)gone at 7:00pm at the museum, followed by a reception featuring Operation Sappho. In Amm(i)gone, Mansoor exploors queerness, the afterlife, and obligation using Sophocles’ Antigone, teachings from the Quran, and audio conversations between him and his mother in a touching performance about love across faith. Later that evening, at 10:00pm at the August Wilson African American Cultural Center, KST partners with TCG to present Vibes N’at, a celebration of the Pittsburgh BIPOC theater and artist community.

    JULY EVENTS 

    The Alloy School, a creative community that fosters the joy of physical expression through movement classes taught by professional artists, returns with a four-week session including Hip Hop, Jazz Ballet, Creative Play: Water World and Dance Fit (18+). The session begins with an orientation for parents and caregivers on July 9, and culminates with the The Alloy School Showcase and Let’s Move Family Dance Party on August 13.

    On Saturday, July 16, KST’s newly reinvented summer fundraiser, House Party, promises a fashionable and celebratory night inspired by The Met Gala by way of Studio 54. Set in an immersive art installation, this VIP reception comes alive through performances by artists and musicians. As KST’s signature fundraiser, House Party supports diverse and engaging programming throughout the year.

    “Everything we achieve at Kelly Strayhorn is the result of collaboration with and support from our community of artists,” says Hall. “House Party is an invitation for our friends and family to support our collaboration as we continue to build a strong home for community.”

    From July 28-30, Legacy Arts Project brings Dance Africa back to the KST stage, celebrating 10 years of Dance Africa in Pittsburgh. There will be performances and a marketplace with off-site workshops.

    AUGUST EVENTS 

    Throughout August, PearlArts hosts PearlDiving Movement Residencies, a series that supports professional movement artists making dance-centered multimedia work by providing rehearsal space, technical support, mentorship, and a stipend through a four-week residency. The dual-track program serves both local and visiting artists and offers an environment where research, play, and risk taking are encouraged.

    Artist applications for the residency are due June 29, and the residency takes place from August 1 through 26. On Friday, August 26 at 7:30pm, KST and PearlArts showcase projects in development from selected artists at KST’s Alloy Studios.

    Kelly Strayhorn Theater events operate on an accessible ticket pricing structure called Pay What Moves You. Over the last few years, we heard feedback from artists and audiences alike–our ticket prices needed to better reflect the value and importance of art, as well as supporting artists to live well and thrive. Pay What Moves You encourages audiences to choose a price that best fits their budget, while also still fairly compensating artists. It is also your opportunity to affirm the value of art!

    Season events take place at Kelly Strayhorn Theater, located at 5941 Penn Avenue, and KST’s Alloy Studios, at 5530 Penn Avenue, in addition to off-site locations where noted. Attendees should check COVID protocols for off-site events on host location websites.

    For full season details, KST COVID policy updates, and tickets, go to kelly-strayhorn.org.

    More Info and Ticketing Here

    ABOUT KELLY STRAYHORN THEATER 

    Kelly Strayhorn Theater is a non-profit community performing arts center in East Liberty,  advancing live art through strategic vision and community collaboration with two venues running along Penn Avenue. KST’s Alloy Studios is a cultural hub in the heart of East  Liberty, and the historic Kelly Strayhorn Theater is located in the thriving business district. More than 20 years after its founding, KST continues to use its broad reach to impact the contemporary arts and the community. KST’s mission is to be a home for creative experimentation, community dialogue, and collective action rooted in the liberation of Black and queer people. Welcome Home!

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  4. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Kelly Strayhorn Theater Presents Radioactive Practice, Genre-Bending Dance Work by Abby Z and the New Utility

    EAST LIBERTY, PA—Kelly Strayhorn Theater is proud to present Abby Z and the New Utility’s Radioactive Practice at 8:00pm on Friday and Saturday, May 27–28, 2022, at Kelly Strayhorn Theater, 5941 Penn Avenue.

    Created by choreographer Abby Zbikowski, Radioactive Practice is a genre-bending work informed by movement traditions that span hip-hop, post-modern dance, contemporary African forms, tap, synchronized swimming, soccer, and the martial arts. The piece, developed in collaboration with Senegalese dance artist Momar Ndiaye, explores survival instincts and pushes the limits of the dancers’ physical capabilities in the context of contemporary living.

    Zbikowski says she founded Abby Z and the New Utility in 2012 “to experiment with the potential and choreographic possibility of the body being pushed beyond its perceived limits.”

    The company, characterized by its intense physicality and blend of dance and movement styles, has performed original works throughout the United States since its inception. In 2017, The New York Times praised dance piece Abandoned Playground for its “gutsiness and serious regard for rhythm.”

    “I make contemporary dance works that pay homage to the effort of living, tactics of survival, and the aesthetics produced as a result, utilizing the physical aspects and psyche-emotional experience of my rigorous training background in African and Afro-diasporic forms, as well as playing sports and performing requisite acts of manual labor,” says Zbikowski. 

    “As a white woman who has trained predominantly in contemporary African and African Diasporic forms, my goal is to create works that speak with dimension to multiple demographics simultaneously, as well as to broaden audiences that attend dance performances after experiencing firsthand the cultural divisions that exist along racial, cultural, and class lines in experimental concert dance.”

    Radioactive Practice has its world premiere at New York Live Arts in NYC May 18–21, after which it will make its way to Pittsburgh. The piece will also be seen at Dance Place in Washington DC and with American Dance Festival in Durham, NC, this summer. In addition to Radioactive Practice performances in Pittsburgh, KST is thrilled to host two events that invite the dance community to meet with and learn from Zbikwoski. 

    On Monday, May 23, Zbikowski and Ndiaye join Pittsburgh choreographer Staycee Pearl for Welcome Dinner & Conversation at 7:00pm at KST’s Alloy Studios, 5530 Penn Avenue. Following dinner, the choreographers will facilitate an interactive discussion about dance in the 21st century, particularly across cultural lines.

    On Wednesday, May 25, Zbikowski leads Reimagining Utility in the Body: A Class for Professional Dancers at 9:00am at KST’s Alloy Studios, 5530 Penn Avenue, presented by PearlArts. The class explores contemporary dance practices in the context of Pittsburgh’s diverse community and blue collar history.

    Kelly Strayhorn Theater (KST) was founded to foster bold and innovative artistry with a global perspective. KST’s 2021–22 season, Welcome Home, features events anchored in creative experimentation, community dialogue, and collective action to advance the liberation of Black and queer people. Through its history, KST has remained a central site for artistic expression and creative movement in Pittsburgh.

    Tickets for Radioactive Practice on May 27–28 are available on a sliding scale, from $15 to 30 per attendee, and can be reserved at kelly-strayhorn.org or purchased at the door.

    Tickets for Welcome Dinner & Conversation: with Abby Zbikowski, Momar Ndiaye, and Staycee Pearl on May 23 are available on a sliding scale, from $15 to 30 per attendee, and can be reserved at kelly-strayhorn.org or purchased at the door.

    Tickets for Reimagining Utility in the Body: A Class for Professional Dancers on May 25 will be available soon.

    For full season details, COVID policy updates, and tickets, go to kelly-strayhorn.org.

    Radioactive Practice is commissioned by ADF with support from the Doris Duke/SHS Foundations Award for New Works and The Mary Duke Biddle Foundation. Additional commissioning funds provided by the Caroline Hearst Choreographer-In-Residence Program at Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts, Dance Umbrella’s Four by Four program, United States Artists Fellowship, the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and the Wexner Center for the Arts.

    The creation of Radioactive Practice was supported in part by a commission from New York Live Arts’ Live Feed Residency program with additional support from the Joseph and Joan Cullman Foundation for the Arts, the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council with special thanks to Council Member Corey Johnson, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, the Jerome Robbins Foundation, the Fan Fox & Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, the Scherman Foundation, and the Shubert Foundation.

    Radioactive Practice is a National Performance Network/Visual Artist Network (NPN/VAN) Creation & Development Fund Project co- commissioned by New York Live Arts, Dance Place, American Dance Festival, Wexner Center for the Performing Arts and NPN/VAN. The Creation & Development Fund is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency). For more information: www.npnweb.org.

    Radioactive Practice is made possible in part by a grant from the Association of Performing Arts Professionals, made possible through support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

    ABOUT THE ARTIST

    Abby Zbikowski created her company Abby Z and the New Utility in 2012. She is a 2020 United States Artists Fellow and received the 2017 Juried Bessie Award for her “unique and utterly authentic movement vocabulary in complex and demanding structures to create works of great energy, intensity, surprise, and danger.” In 2018 Dance Umbrella UK awarded her a “Choreographer of the Future” commission. She is an inaugural Caroline Hearst Choreographer-In-Residence at the Lewis Center of the Arts at Princeton University (2017–19), current artist in residence at New York Live Arts (2018–20), and has been in residence at Bates Dance Festival, American Dance Festival, and the STREB Lab for Action Mechanics. She is an assistant professor of Dance at the University of Illinois and on faculty at American Dance Festival. She has taught at the Academy of Culture in Riga, Latvia; at Festival Un Pas Vers L’Avant in Abidjan, Ivory Coast; and studied at Germaine Acogny’s L’École de Sables in Senegal. Zbikowski holds a BFA in dance from Temple University and an MFA from The Ohio State University. Zbikowski has performed with Charles O. Anderson/Dance Theater X, Momar Ndiaye, and the Baker & Tarpaga Dance Project. Her company has been presented nationally, performing at venues such as Jacob’s Pillow in Becket, MA, and the Fuse Box Festival in Austin, TX, among others.

    Momar Ndiaye is an internationally recognized dance artist from Senegal who has taught and toured his work both in the States and abroad. He received his MFA in Dance from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where he taught contemporary and traditional African dance forms from Senegal, Guinea, Mali, Congo, etc., as well as video dance documentation. Ndiaye has worked with many well-known choreographers from Africa, Europe, Asia, and America through the program Aex. Corps initiated by the Association Premier Temp in Senegal. Since 2010, Momar has danced for internationally acclaimed choreographer Andreya Ouamba in the Dakar-based company Premier Temps and was selected as a Dance Web participant at Impuls Tanz Festival in Vienna, Austria, in 2012. He has been developing work with his own company, Cadanses, since 2004 and has created and toured several staged contemporary dance works. In 2015, Ndiaye’s evening length piece Toxu was a finalist laureate in the Danse L’Afrique Danse (Africa and Caribbean in Creation) Festival in St. Louis and Senegal and was toured to Europe as part of the Belluard Festival in Switzerland. In 2016, Momar was selected to participate in two intercultural projects, Shifting Realities, supported by Tanz Haus and Hellerau in Germany, and 1space, a collaboration between KVS Brussel, Exodus in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and Alkantara Lisbon, Portugal.

    Staycee Pearl is the co-artistic director of PearlArts and STAYCEE PEARL dance project & Soy Sos, where she creates artful experiences through dance-centered multimedia works in collaboration with her husband and artistic collaborator, Herman Pearl. Staycee received her initial dance training at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center. In 2009, STAYCEE PEARL dance project & Soy Sos (SPdp&SS) debuted at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater. Since then the duo has produced several works including ..on being…, OCTAVIA, and FLOWERZ, and are currently working on their National Dance Project supported CIRCLES. Staycee is passionate about sharing resources and creating opportunities for the arts community by initiating project-generating programs including the Charrette Series, the In The Studio Series, and the PearlDiving Movement Residency.

    ABOUT KELLY STRAYHORN THEATER 

    Kelly Strayhorn Theater is a non-profit community performing arts center in East Liberty,  advancing live art through strategic vision and community collaboration with two venues running along Penn Avenue. KST’s Alloy Studios is a cultural hub in the heart of East  Liberty, and the historic Kelly Strayhorn Theater is located in the thriving business district. More than 20 years after its founding, KST continues to use its broad reach to impact the contemporary arts and the community. KST’s mission is to be a home for creative experimentation, community dialogue, and collective action rooted in the liberation of Black and queer people. Welcome Home!

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  5. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Hosted by Artist and Educator Meg Foley, Queer Parent Convening Offers Community-Building Session for Queer and Trans Parents

    EAST LIBERTY, PA—Kelly Strayhorn Theater is proud to present Meg Foley’s Queer Parent Convening at 3:00pm on Saturday, May 21, 2022, at KST’s Alloy Studios, 5530 Penn Avenue.

    Conceptualized by Meg Foley, a queer dance artist, educator, and parent who creates performances and somatic-based events, the Queer Parent Convening is a community session for queer and trans parents to explore questions of gender and sex in family building. This event is part of Foley’s multiformat performance project, Blood Baby. KST Presents is a commissioning partner on Blood Baby, which received a National Performance Network Creation Fund Award in June 2021.

    Foley developed the Queer Parent Convening with a team of trauma-informed, queer- and trans-inclusive birthworkers and community organizers. In addition to facilitated discussion led by Foley, attendees will learn somatic and improvisational practices to help them process parenting experiences. Children are welcome to attend, and childcare will be provided to ensure caregivers can engage fully.

    Through Blood Baby, Foley explores and embraces the experience of parenting queerly through choreography, sculpture, and drag. Developed through a collaboration of artists, Blood Baby takes shape through a series of public events, including intimate dance performances, environmental experiences, participatory community workshops, and more.

    “I have begun to think of Blood Baby as a universe,” says Foley. “The project is a collection of performance and body-based explorations around and within the idea of queer and trans parenting, with the idea that these experiences are distinctly embodied by the parent or caregiver in question and that that experience is situated in a larger timeline of creation, specifically the earth’s creation and geological progress. The Queer Parent Convenings are a series of creative reflection and fellowship gatherings to share communal knowledge and care and build collective insight and connection.”

    The Queer Parent Convening is part of an ongoing relationship between Foley and KST: in 2021, Foley joined Michele Steinwald for Identity as Prism & Genderful Family Building, a virtual conversation hosted by KST. Through 2022 and into 2023, Foley will host and perform elements of Blood Baby around the United States, culminating in a full presentation of Blood Baby in 2023. Kelly Strayhorn Theater will host Blood Baby as part of its Fall 2023 season, and the performance will also tour venues including Velocity Dance Center (Seattle), Painted Bride (Philadelphia), Kinsey Institute (Bloomington, IN), CounterPulse (San Francisco), and others.

    KST’s 2021–22 season, Welcome Home, explores the liberation and redefinition of “home” for Black and queer people and communities. Throughout the season, KST has hosted events anchored in creative experimentation, community dialogue, and collective action to advance the liberation of Black and queer people. As a site of community building and resistance, KST defines itself as a home for artists and a space of care for historically resilient people.

    Tickets for the Queer Parent Convening are available on a sliding scale, from $0 to $20 per attendee, and can be reserved at kelly-strayhorn.org or purchased at the door.

    For full season details, COVID policy updates, and tickets, go to kelly-strayhorn.org.

    Blood Baby is supported by a NEFA National Dance Project Production Grant, a National Performance Network Creation Fund Award, Leeway Foundation, and an Indiana University Arts & Humanities grant.

    ABOUT THE ARTIST

    Meg Foley is a Philadelphia-based performer, choreographer, and director of various dance- and performance-based actions that explore the materiality of dance and physical identity as form. For the past nine years Foley has been researching improvisational practices and embodiment frames that engage with meaning-making through practiced attention, danced affirmation, expansion, and relationality and a concern for the action of decision and engagement as form.

    Foley’s work has been presented by the Philadelphia FringeArts Festival, Vox Populi Gallery, Moore College of Art & Design, Pilot+Projects, Bowerbird, Thirdbird, and Icebox Project Space, throughout the U.S., and in Canada, Germany, and Poland. Foley’s research has been supported by grants from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, the Independence Foundation, and the Polish Cultural Institute and through residencies with Art Stations Foundation and Dancemakers Centre for Creation. Foley sometimes teaches at University of the Arts and is creative co-director of The Whole Shebang, an interdisciplinary arts space and studio in South Philadelphia that hosts workshops and classes and provides studio rental to artists at affordable rates.

    ABOUT KELLY STRAYHORN THEATER 

    Kelly Strayhorn Theater is a non-profit community performing arts center in East Liberty,  advancing live art through strategic vision and community collaboration with two venues running along Penn Avenue. KST’s Alloy Studios is a cultural hub in the heart of East  Liberty, and the historic Kelly Strayhorn Theater is located in the thriving business district. More than 20 years after its founding, KST continues to use its broad reach to impact the contemporary arts and the community. KST’s mission is to be a home for creative experimentation, community dialogue, and collective action rooted in the liberation of Black and queer people. Welcome Home!

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  6. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Clara Kent & Ian Brill debut Aura: Reimagined, an immersive audiovisual experience

    EAST LIBERTY, PA, NOVEMBER 16, 2021 – Kelly Strayhorn Theater is proud to present the Freshworks showing, Aura: Reimagined by Clara Kent and Ian Brill, December 3 & 4, 2021 at KST’s Alloy Studios, 5530 Penn Avenue. 

    Utilizing light sculptures created by Ian Brill and soundscapes with vocal arrangements, Aura: Reimagined is a personal testament by Clara Kent surrounding the experiences of Black artists in the city. Displaying narratives of frustration, celebration, and most importantly, facing the mirror of self-reflection, the work will merge art and music to immerse the audience into a new world where they can experience the music as it is performed.

    The goal is for people to connect with their emotions and inner truths, which we tend to hide away from ourselves, and come to peace with those things. We wish to take people into a new world but not distract them from themselves, using art and music to usher the audience into a vibrant space in expression and honesty in the message. I hope people see that no matter the obstacles they face within or out, they are capable of shining out and that we all have unique colors to display, like an aura,” reflects Clara Kent. 

    The immersive, audiovisual experience will feature the music and performance of Clara Kent, coupled with cued light sculptures created by Ian Brill. “The two of us are exploring ways of adding another dimension to her compositions using the visual methodologies and language of expression that I have been exploring with the visual aspects of my art practice. Audiences will see something powerful, unique, and unforgettable,” states Brill. 

    Clara Kent is an Afro-Oglala Lakota singer-songwriter and emcee from Homewood, PA, whose integrity and range in creating music, visual art, events, and connections within the community have made her well known amongst many organizations in Pittsburgh, her peers, and the music community. Artist Ian Brill creates interactive, performative, and multisensory environments that focus on the accumulation of form through process. 

    Freshworks is KST’s creative residency for Pittsburgh based artists and collaborators. The program provides artists with financial resources, studio space, production staff, lighting and sound design, professional development, and encouragement for creative risk taking. through interdisciplinary collaborations in contemporary dance, theater, music, and multimedia.

    Aura: Reimagined is presented as a work in progress at KST’s Alloy Studios, located at 5530 Penn Avenue, on Friday, December 3 and Saturday, December 4 at 8:00pm. There will be a discussion panel with the artists following the performance. 

    Tickets for Aura: Reimagined are now on sale at kelly-strayhorn.org or can be purchased in person at the event. Pricing is Pay What Makes You Happy!, a sliding scale of accessible price points in order to truly welcome all to enjoy the arts. 

    For full season details, COVID policy updates, and tickets, go to kelly-strayhorn.org.

    ABOUT THE ARTISTS

    Clara Kent is an Afro-Oglala Lakota singer-songwriter and emcee from Homewood, Pa, a Pittsburgh neighborhood known for its talented people. Clara is a self-proclaimed Multidimensional Artistic Individual for very valid reasons. Clara Kent’s integrity and range in creating music, visual art, events, and connections within the community have made her well known amongst peers, the music community, and many organizations in Pittsburgh. 

    Clara is a wearer of many hats! Most known for her professional music sombrero, Clara Kent has graced many notable stages across the country. Tempo Networks Grammy Broadcast at BBKings in Time Square, Opener for Wyclef Jean at SXSW, WYEP Summerfest 2019, Comcast’s Light Up Night 2018 & 2019, a 2019 Sofar Sounds Tour, Return the Heart Foundation Broadcast with Mac DeMarco, and many more. Kent earned a cover feature in the Pittsburgh City Paper in April 2018, named “Person of the Year: Music” 2019, and most recently landed an international feature in Photo Vogue Italia in May 2021.

    Kent is set to re-release her statement project AURA under the title ‘Aura’s Imagination,’ featuring tracks and collaborations by Yorel Tifsim, Benji., Mani Bahia, and Tribe Eternal’s Bilal Abbey and Pharaoh Lum in early Spring of 2022.

    Pittsburgh Resident Ian Brill‘s work focuses on the accumulation of form through process. Through the creation of interactive, performative, and multi-sensorial environments, he considers the boundaries of becoming (versus being) and our immersive relationship with technology. His installations, performances, and writing have been presented internationally, at conferences, festivals, museums, and galleries. Currently, he teaches at Penn State University.

    ABOUT KELLY STRAYHORN THEATER 

    Kelly Strayhorn Theater is a non-profit community performing arts center in East Liberty,  advancing live art through strategic vision and community collaboration with two venues running along Penn Avenue. KST’s Alloy Studios is a cultural hub in the heart of East  Liberty, and the historic Kelly Strayhorn Theater is located in the thriving business district. More than 20 years after its founding, KST continues to use its broad reach to impact the contemporary arts and the community. 

  7. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Find your rhythm with Synchronized: with Soy Sos, featuring dance and music duo slowdanger

    PITTSBURGH, PA, November 9, 2021Join Soy Sos and slowdanger at KST’s Alloy Studios for Synchronized: with Soy Sos, an intimate, immersive sound experience with modular synths, electronics, and a mix of traditional instruments! 

    Using synchronization-based ensembles, Soy Sos collaborates with contemporary sound artists to create live, improvised sound-scapes as STAYCEE PEARL dance project & Soy Sos dancers move throughout the space. During the evening, slowdanger will collaborate with Soy Sos, creating saturated and atmospheric worlds for movement with layers of live vocal loops, field recordings, and sparse deconstructed rhythms. This informal evening will take place in the Upstairs Studio at KST’s Alloy Studios, giving the evening a loft-like industrial tone. Come for the vibes, sound discussions, and dance! 

    You’ll have two opportunities to catch the bold, collaborative soundscapes of Synchronized: with Soy Sos: Wednesday, November 17, 2021 and Wednesday, December 15, 2021. Special guest artist for Wednesday, December 15 will be announced at a later date. Both events will take place at KST’s Alloy Studios in the atmospheric upstairs studio, located at 5530 Penn Avenue. 

    Synchronized: with Soy Sos is in collaboration with Pittsburgh Modular Synthesizers and is presented as part of the PearlArts @ KST Mutual Aid Residency.

    For more information and ticket sales, visit kelly-strayhorn.org.

    Herman Pearl (Soy Sos) is the head engineer and owner of Tuff Sound Recording, as well as the sound designer and co-artistic director of PearlArts Studios. Through PearlArts, Herman creates soundscapes to serve as a component to contemporary dance. As a sound designer and recording engineer, Herman’s repertoire includes a wide variety of projects and collaborators. His work has been featured in various independent films and documentaries, video games, and advertising. He has designed soundscapes for numerous choreographers. He has collaborated with many visual artists to create installations and touring exhibits. He has recorded and produced work for a plethora of recording artists across genres and techniques. Herman has performed, created, and recorded his own music for over 35 years. Photo Credit: Kitoko Chargois 

    slowdanger is a Pittsburgh based, multidisciplinary performance entity founded in 2013 by co-artistic directors taylor knight and anna thompson. They use electronic instrumentation, vocalization and choreographic, improvisational and contemporary dance/performance frameworks to create work at the intersection of movement, sound and technology. Their performance work largely centers the body and researches its relationship to other bodies, the environment, sensory information, technology and the unknown/unknowable. The name, slowdanger, was inspired by the road signs that signify a demolition of old surfaces to build upon the remnants. They continue to return to this overarching concept cyclically in performance creation; rebuilding, slowing down to examine the remains and re-imagine new futures. slowdanger’s performance work has been featured across the United States and Canada in venues ranging from proscenium theaters and galleries to nightclubs and dive bars. From directing music videos to scoring  plays,  slowdanger transforms its shape to adapt to a variety of different containers. They use sound as a physical extension of their bodily practices, to further embody and connect with their audience. More info at www.slowdangerslowdanger.com. Photo credit: Anita Buzzy Prentiss

    Kelly Strayhorn Theater (KST) is a non-profit community performing arts center in East Liberty,  advancing live art through strategic vision and community collaboration with two venues running along Penn Avenue. KST’s Alloy Studios is a cultural hub in the heart of East  Liberty, and the historic Kelly Strayhorn Theater is located in the thriving business district. More than 20 years after its founding, KST continues to use its broad reach to impact the contemporary arts and the community. 

    PearlArts is a dance-focused arts organization that also provides music and media arts programming. PearlArts offers artistic experiences through creative residencies, innovative collaborations, and a broad range of dance and sound education and outreach opportunities. PearlArts is the creative parent organization for STAYCEE PEARL dance project & Soy Sos and Tuff Sound Recording. PearlArts will operate in residence at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater Alloy Studios for 2021 – 2023 as part of the PearlArts @ KST Mutual Aid Residency. 

     

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  8. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: My People Festival celebrates Queer & Trans Artists of Color, centering work of Pittsburgh native, choreographer Kyle Abraham

    EAST LIBERTY, PA, NOVEMBER 1, 2021Kelly Strayhorn Theater is proud to announce the lineup for My People: A QTPOC Festival of the Arts, taking place Wednesday, November 10 – Saturday, November 13, 2021 at KST’s Alloy Studios, 5530 Penn Avenue, and  Byham Theater, 101 6th Street. 

    Created in honor of KST’s namesake Billy Strayhorn, My People is Kelly Strayhorn Theater’s annual multi-disciplinary festival featuring Queer and Trans Artists of Color. This year, the program is co-presented with Pittsburgh Dance Council, a division of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, and will center the work of Black, Queer, Pittsburgh native and MacArthur Genius Award Winning Choreographer, Kyle Abraham.  

    “Billy Strayhorn was a revolutionary because he was living as an out queer Black artist in a time when it was challenging enough to live freely as a Black person in segregationist United States, let alone be open about one’s sexuality and identity. We celebrate his life and legacy by boldly celebrating the art and stories of Queer and Transgender People of Color here in his hometown of Pittsburgh,” stated Joseph Hall, Executive Director of Kelly Strayhorn Theater. 

    Kyle Abraham sees this engagement as a homecoming and a chance to share art that reflects the city. “So much of the work I have made over the years is, in a lot of ways, rooted in a street or many streets in Pittsburgh. And this is one of those works,” he says. “This is Pittsburgh.”

    In addition to performances, the company will be teaching classes throughout the city and region at institutions including Point Park University, Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12 , Slippery Rock University, and more! Abraham himself will teach a Community Class at KST’s Alloy Studios presented by PearlArts on Friday, November 12, from 10:00am – 12:00pm. 

    My People 2021 additionally features Abraham in conversation about self love, Black love and the multiplicity of ways love is exchanged between queer folx and across race with Brian Broome, Staycee Pearl, and sarah huny young, on Wedneaday, November 10 at 7:00pm. And don’t miss the evening of Pittsburgh based queer artists curated by sarah huny young and performing at KST’s Alloy Studios on Friday, November 12 at 7:00pm. The four day festival, culminates with A.I.M by Kyle Abraham’s newest work, An Untitled Love, on Saturday, November 13 at the Byham Theater. 

    Tickets for My People are now on sale at kelly-strayhorn.org or can be purchased in person at the events. For An Untitled Love tickets, information, and venue safety and health protocol entry requirements, visit: www.TrustArts.org or call 412-456-6666.

    For full season details, COVID policy updates, and tickets, go to kelly-strayhorn.org.

     

    ABOUT PITTSBURGH DANCE COUNCIL 

    The Pittsburgh Dance Council joined the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust as a programming division in 2002. The mission of Pittsburgh Dance Council is to bring the best contemporary dance companies from around the world to the Cultural District. Each season, Pittsburgh Dance Council presents diverse, world-class contemporary works, including U.S. and world premieres.

    The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has overseen one of Pittsburgh’s most historic transformations: turning a seedy red-light district into a magnet destination for arts lovers, residents, visitors, and business owners.  Founded in 1984, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is a non-profit arts organization whose mission is the cultural and economic revitalization of a 14-block arts and entertainment/residential neighborhood called the Cultural District.  The District is one of the country’s largest land masses “curated” by a single nonprofit arts organization.  A major catalytic force in the city, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is a unique model of how public-private partnerships can reinvent a city with authenticity, innovation and creativity.  Using the arts as an economic catalyst, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has holistically created a world-renowned Cultural District that is revitalizing the city, improving the regional economy and enhancing Pittsburgh’s quality of life.  Thanks to the support of foundations, corporations, government agencies and thousands of private citizens, the Trust stands as a national model of urban redevelopment through the arts.

    ABOUT KELLY STRAYHORN THEATER 

    Kelly Strayhorn Theater is a non-profit community performing arts center in East Liberty,  advancing live art through strategic vision and community collaboration with two venues running along Penn Avenue. KST’s Alloy Studios is a cultural hub in the heart of East  Liberty, and the historic Kelly Strayhorn Theater is located in the thriving business district. More than 20 years after its founding, KST continues to use its broad reach to impact the contemporary arts and the community. 

     

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  9.  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Kelly Strayhorn Theater’s Freshworks program welcomes artists Livefromthecity & Sheryland Neal in 40412, which explores the concept of home 

    EAST LIBERTY, PA, OCTOBER 19, 2021 – Kelly Strayhorn Theater is proud to present the Freshworks showing, 40412 by Livefromthecity and Sheryland Neal, November 5-6, 2021 at KST’s Alloy Studios. 

    Jordan Howard, known as Livefromthecity, is a hip-hop songwriter, producer, studio engineer, and part-time arts educator located in Pittsburgh, PA. Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Sheryland Neal has a background in performance, theatre, and broadcast journalism. 40412 combines musical and audio-visual elements with unique stories about Pittsburgh from the varying perspectives of a native and a transplanted resident with a vested interest in the city.

    According to recent census data comparing 2010 to 2020, Allegheny County has grown by 2.7%, a population increase that many are contributing to the new opportunities in the region. For the art community, this growth has created a newfound collaboration between native Pittsburghers and new faces. “Coming to Pittsburgh from Atlanta, it felt at first like culture shock to experience the differences between the Northeast and South. Our piece 40412 explores what it means to actively create and choose your home and what it means to be from a place. 404 is the area code for Atlanta and 412, the code for Pittsburgh,” said co-creator Sheryland Neal. “As a born and raised Pittsburgher, I’m excited to share my city and stories, but also be honest with the realities of what Pittsburgh needs to continue to improve for their residents,” added Livefromthecity. 

    Freshworks is KST’s creative residency for Pittsburgh based artists and collaborators. The program provides artists with financial resources, studio space, production staff, lighting and sound design, professional development, and encouragement for creative risk taking. through interdisciplinary collaborations in contemporary dance, theater, music, and multimedia.

    40412 is presented as a work in progress at KST’s Alloy Studios, located at 5530 Penn Avenue, on Friday, November 5 and Saturday, November 6 at 8:00pm. 

    Tickets for 40412 are now on sale at kelly-strayhorn.org or can be purchased in person at the event. Pricing is Pay What Makes You Happy!, a sliding scale of accessible price points in order to truly welcome all to enjoy the arts. 

    For full season details, COVID policy updates, and tickets, go to kelly-strayhorn.org.

     

    ABOUT THE ARTISTS

    Jordan Howard, (aka Livefromthecity) is a hip-hop songwriter, producer, studio engineer, and part-time arts educator located in Pittsburgh, PA. Howard is the co-founder of Pittsburgh’s “Sun Fest”, an annual hip-hop festival that features some of the city’s best in hip-hop talent, and is hand-curated and produced by Howard himself. Through his work on “Sun Fest”, Howard has received more opportunities to produce concerts including “The Glow Up” in collaboration with Max Gonzalez, and “School House Rock!” with Community Forge. His most notable work has been with 1Hood Media, where he served as a teaching artist for 3 years and a brief stint as creative director. It was through 1Hood, that Howard gained a deep passion for working with young creatives, and an even deeper passion for hip-hop. “1Hood Media elevated my career to another level, and helped me discover my purpose beyond music; community empowerment.” Howard is known for his cultivation of the modern-day Pittsburgh hip-hop scene through his extensive catalog of material and his high level of stage performance over the years. He has been highlighted in publications such as Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh City Paper, and Jenesis Magazine as a stand out artist in the city. He has led songwriting workshops locally, and nationally as a member of 1Hood Media including Allied Media Conference in Detroit, as well as Shuman Detention Center in Pittsburgh.

    Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Sheryland Neal has a background in performance, theatre, and broadcast journalism. She holds a MFA in Film and Digital Technology from Chatham University and Bachelor’s degree in Communication from Central State University. Sheryland is a former assistant artistic director of Timbeleza and a performing member of the Pittsburgh samba Group. Recent travels include expeditions to Santiago, Havana, Trinidad, and Holguin, Cuba, and a residency in Brazil (Rio de Janeiro and Salvador). While in Salvador in 2018, she competed in the 39th Noite da Beleza Negra hosted by Ilê Aiyê –  making her the first foreigner and American to ever be approved to compete. In addition to working on creative projects with local and international companies, non-profits, and individuals, she is a prolific screenwriter, videographer, photographer, filmmaker, dancer, and documentarian.